Detroit has become the largest city in US history to file for bankruptcy protection after decades of decline and mismanagement rendered the home of the nation's auto industry insolvent.
Once a bustling beacon of industrial might, the city is now a poster child for urban decay, its landscape littered with abandoned skyscrapers, factories and homes.
Crime is rampant, and the city literally cannot afford to keep the lights on - with 40 percent of streetlights are out.
Detroit has seen its population shrink by more than half, from 1.8 million people in 1950 to 700,000 today.
Racial tensions sparked by the civil rights movement -- and the devastating 1967 riots -- exacerbated white and middle-class flight to the suburbs. Businesses followed suit, further shrinking the tax base.
With less revenue, Detroit had to cut back on services, prompting even more people to leave and eventually sending the city into an economic tailspin.
The Motor City meanwhile saw its main employers go through round after round of mass layoffs as auto factories were automated or outsourced and Asian competitors siphoned away market share.
"The citizens of Detroit need and deserve a clear road out of the cycle of ever-decreasing services," Snyder said in a letter accompanying the court filing.
"The only feasible path to a stable and solid Detroit is to file for bankruptcy protection."